Bulls trade Alex Caruso to Thunder for Josh Giddey

The stats behind the Alex Caruso-Josh Giddey trade (1:53)

Check out the key stats behind Alex Caruso and Josh Giddey being swapped in a trade between the Bulls and Thunder. (1:53)

The Chicago Bulls have traded two-time NBA All-Defensive Team guard Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guard Josh Giddey, the teams announced Friday.

The trade delivers the Thunder one of the league's most coveted role players, a 30-year-old guard general manager Sam Presti has long pursued for the Western Conference's No. 1 seed this past postseason. Caruso's arrival could be seen as an addition comparable to the Golden State Warriors' acquisition of Andre Iguodala in 2013. At the time of that deal, Iguodala was also 30 years old.

The Bulls have been determined to find a playmaker to replace Lonzo Ball, and Giddey, 21, comes with All-Star potential that would be unlikely to be realized with the Thunder because of the playmaking star power that surrounded him. Point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the MVP runner-up this past season, and there is an expectation that the franchise wants to give 7-footer Chet Holmgren even more playmaking duties.

Presti said in a statement that the Thunder had planned to bring Giddey off the bench next season, an idea the guard found "hard for him to envision."

"Conversations turned to him inquiring about potential opportunities elsewhere," Presti said. "As always was the case, Josh demonstrated the utmost professionalism throughout the discussions. Josh has All-Star potential, but accessing that in the current construct of the Thunder would not be optimal for the collective. Based on these discussions we decided to move forward and prioritize what was best for the organization."

Giddey was the No. 6 pick in the 2021 NBA draft and developed into one of the league's most creative young playmakers. The Bulls will offer him an opportunity to have the ball in his hands and more freedom to pass and score. They needed an engine for their offense, and they land that with Giddey.

Giddey played a career-high 80 games for the Thunder this past season but eventually started to come off the bench in the Western Conference playoffs. His scoring average dropped from 16.6 points per game in 2022-23 last season to 12.3 points this past season as his role with the Thunder evolved. Giddey has 11 career triple-doubles, fourth most by a player age 21 or younger, trailing only Luka Doncic, Magic Johnson and Ben Simmons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Caruso shot 40.8% on 3-pointers and ranked fourth in steals in the NBA last season. He was second in defensive half-court matchups against 2024 All-Star players, trailing only his new Thunder teammate, Luguentz Dort, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Caruso's addition gives the Thunder three of the best on-ball defenders among league guards: Caruso, Dort and Cason Wallace.

Caruso will be eligible for a four-year, $80 million contract extension six months from the date of this trade. He is entering the final year of his contract. The Thunder made the deal with hopes of keeping Caruso as an integral part of their team for the long term, sources said.

Giddey is eligible to negotiate a rookie-scale extension as a member of the 2021 draft class.